Hoarder houses: Where to begin

“Hoarders” isn’t just a popular television show, but also a very real problem, especially when selling a home. It can be overwhelming and embarrassing, and you might be looking for someone to help you without judgment.

In a hoarder house, there might be thin passages cleared to travel from room to room. Some rooms might be filled to the brim and can’t be entered at all. Getting hoarder help is a time-consuming and emotional process. Hoarding is much different than collecting; hoarders are emotionally tied to the things in their home, refusing to get rid of books they haven’t read in over ten years, or old food garbage that has begun to rot.

Hoarding disorder is a problem when rooms in your home have become unusable—dining rooms that now hold only stacks and stacks of old clothes higher than you can reach, or, in extreme cases, food preparation areas filled with human waste or deceased animals. Cases of hoarding range widely in severity, but often have health and safety implications. Hoards can block heaters, which pose a fire hazard, or can cause structural damage due to overbearing stacks of things on upper floors—one man’s magazine and paper collection ended up totaling 26 tons—and, of course, hoards can pose serious health risks, as rotting garbage and piles of things can spread disease and cause bug problems.

Hoarding often points to underlying psychological disorders, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. So, if you’re planning to sell the home, either because you are trying to get help for yourself or a loved one, you will need to provide continued support long after the clean-up. Hoarding is a psychological disorder and nothing to be embarrassed about. You must be respectful during the cleaning process, asking before throwing anything out. It can make it easier for a hoarder to give up their possessions, which sometimes are quite valuable, if they know they will be passed on to those in need. For instance, Wren Realty gives discarded items to our charity partners.

There’s also the possibility that you’ve inherited a hoarder house. Regardless of whether you are yourself a hoarder, or simply the inheritor of a hoarder house, it can be difficult to know where to begin. And, putting a hoarder house up for sale can be difficult in the traditional model.

You can hire a hoarder house cleaning service, but often the home will have to be entirely gutted. Your best option is to sell the house as is to a cash buyer. People—hoarders or not—are often emotionally tied to the things in their house, and great care will need to be taken when clearing out the house so the necessary renovations and repairs can be made.

At Wren, we’ve been buying hoarder houses and providing hoarder help for 30 years. We’re more than a fast-and-quick cash buyer—we like to think of ourselves as hope when you need it most. We will work with you to ensure the cleanup is respectful and your possessions go to those in need. Then, we’ll take care of the structural and cosmetic repairs needed to make the home sell, and you can move on with your life.

Give us a call and see how we can help you.